It was fitting, then, to see Cabal and Farah win one of the most prolific championship matches in Wimbledon history on Saturday, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-3 win over Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. It was a contest that lasted four hours and 57 minutes—longer when you factor in the time it took to close the roof due to darkness—and featured 419 total points.
The tournament's decision to allow grounds-pass holders to enter Centre Court during the later stages of the day, and the match, made for an atmosphere that befitted a singles final.
"I'm speechless," said the 32-year-old Farah. "Really, I kept watching the watch through the first and second set. I'm like, we finished the second set and it's been 2 hours and 15 minutes play. This is ridiculous. How long is this?"
"The moment we're living right now is just crazy," said Cabal, 33 years old and, come Monday, the new doubles No. 1. "We never actually won three matches [at Wimbledon] in a row. No two matches in a regular tournament ATP on grass. Now we won two tournaments in a row and we're No. 1 in the world. What I can say?"
Their ninth championship match over that two-year period of time might be the most unexpected of them all.
“Colombian Power,” as the duo is colloquially known, topped 2015 Wimbledon champions Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 11-9 in the fifth set of the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, the pair beat Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus—last year’s runner-ups—in four sets.
Before this grass-court stretch, Cabal and Farah had never reached a final on the surface together. Now, they’ve won nine matches in a row, having claimed the title in Eastbourne the week before the third Grand Slam of the season. And prior to this year’s tournament, their best finishes at the All England Club have been several third-round showings.
The two made headlines several weeks ago when they fell to Andy Murray—in his first match in months—and Feliciano Lopez in the opening round at the Queen’s Club tournament in London. They were able to exact a measure of revenge—against Murray, at least—the following week in Eastbourne, where they defeated the Scot and Marcelo Melo on their way to the title.
Two weeks later, they are Wimbledon champions.
The Eastbourne title was their third of the year, and first after another consistently strong spring clay-court run. Cabal and Farah defended their Masters 1000 title in Rome and also captured the 500-level event in Barcelona. Heading into the French Open, they were the heavy favorites, and after the losses among the other top teams kept piling up, they looked like a sure bet for their first major going into the semifinals. However, they fell victim to the upset bug themselves as unseeded Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin stopped their charge in the penultimate round.
It was their second semifinal showing in Paris in three years, which shouldn’t be too unexpected as 11 of their 14 career titles together have come on clay. But while their record on the dirt over the years has been impressive, they’ve had their most noteworthy performances on other surfaces, shattering the notion that they’re clay-court specialists.
Last year at the Australian Open, Cabal and Farah reached their first Grand Slam final, with wins against Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, as well as Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. They came close to adding another Grand Slam final on the year at the US Open before losing to Mike Bryan and Jack Sock in a three-set semifinal.
After coming close to a major breakthrough, Colombian Power's Wimbledon win is surely worth the wait.
"We just won Wimbledon for Colombia," Cabal said. "It's huge. I don't know how to explain it, but it's huge for our country. I hope everybody enjoys us."